Some of the home remedies for sunburn include the application of Aloe Vera, oatmeal water, potato, lemon juice, sandalwood, lettuce, turmeric, vinegar, almond, rose water, and milk. Cold water compresses, cool baths, the application of sunscreen, optimum consumption of water on a daily basis, use of antibacterial soap, and the use of moisturizers are some other home remedies that help for quick healing of sunburn.
Due to extreme weather conditions and the depletion of the ozone layer, the effects of sunburn are intensified. However, with effective implementation of these home remedies, the treatment of sunburns will be far easier.
What is Sunburn?
Sunburn is reddening or inflammation of the skin due to exposure to sun and ultraviolet radiation. The sun’s rays consist of UV (ultraviolet) rays, infrared rays, and visible light. UV rays consist of three types: ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet C (UVC). UVA and UVB are known to cause severe damage to the skin. UVC is absorbed by ozone, oxygen, water vapor, and carbon dioxide and does not enter the Earth’s atmosphere. When skin becomes overexposed to UV rays, the skin tissues become burnt. While UVA rays attack the underlying layers of skin, UVB rays attack the outer layers.
The UV level depends on many factors, which include the following:
Time of the Year: During summer, the sun intensity is high and so are the UV levels.
Time of the Day: Close to noon, sun rays have to travel the least distance to enter the atmosphere of the planet. Therefore, the sun intensity and UV level are both high around noon.
Geographic Location: The intensity of the sun’s rays and UV levels increase as we move closer to the Equator. Also, if the location’s altitude is high, there will be little or no atmosphere to absorb the UV rays. In both of these scenarios, the chances of skin damage is high.
Reflected Rays: The effect of sunburn is intensified if the UV rays were in the form of reflected rays. Reflection from water, snow, metal or sand aggravates the symptoms.
Ozone Layer: There has been increase in sunburn cases due to the depletion of the ozone layer, a layer which keeps harmful UV rays from entering the Earth’s atmosphere. These rays are potentially capable of damaging the skin and causing diseases like skin cancer.
High exposure to UV rays can affect the skin, eyes, and immune system. Skin aging, keratosis, cataracts, and skin cancer can be used due to UV radiation. Infants and children are more sensitive and susceptible to sunburn and its burning effects.
Symptoms of Sunburn
Sunburns are usually first degree burns. The various symptoms of sunburns are:
Skin turns red and blisters develop on the skin
Headaches after exposure to sun
Heat, pain, fever, nausea, chills, and irritation
Internal damages to the underlying blood vessels and tissue fibers that cause wrinkling of the skin
Home Remedies for Sunburn
The effective implementation of the following remedies will help to curb the symptoms of sunburn and speed up recovery.
Minimize Sun Exposure
The foremost remedy of any condition is to stay away from what caused the condition. Exposure to the sun should therefore be avoided. The patient must stay indoors, especially between 10am and 4pm, when UV rays are usually strongest. While outdoors, sunburn patients should always wear a hat, light clothing with a light color, and sunglasses to protect the eyes from the UV rays.
Sunburn causes pain and inflammation of the skin. Compresses could be used to cool down the burn. This cooling effect could be heightened by directing a fan on the sunburned area. Cold water also acts as an effective coolant to help reduce the symptoms of a sunburn. A cloth can be dipped into cold water and applied on the affected area. Repeat every five minutes when the cloth gets warm. This should be done about 10 times every day and should be continued even after the symptoms start to subside.
A cool bath is also an effective remedy. Cool water provides good treatment for a sunburn patient. It helps relieve pain, itching, and inflammation. Do not use perfumes, oils, or bath salts during the bath, as they can increase skin sensitivity. While using a towel, one must gently pat the skin so as to avoid further damage to the skin.
Constant consumption of water or fluids is necessary as sunburn may lead to dehydration. Healthy consumption of water also helps cool the body. A minimum daily consumption of water should be at least 6 to 8 glasses of water.
Vegetables and Fruits
Consumption of vegetables and fruits with a high water content can help you rehydrate faster. Some of these vegetables and fruits include cucumbers, bottle gourd, snake gourd, ridged gourd melons, papaya, musk melon, honeydew melon, and cantaloupe, all of which have a high water content.
Complications of sunburn, such as itching, redness, and irritation can be eliminated with the use of the thick juice of Aloe Vera. It causes constriction of the blood vessels. Slit open an Aloe Vera leaf and directly apply the juice to the burn. Apply this mixture 5 to 6 times on a daily basis.
Baking soda can provide a good relief from the burns. Add 1-2 cups of baking soda to the bath water and soak for 30 minutes. The sodium bicarbonate in the soda can help bring the acid-alkali balance in the body.
Skim milk contains milk protein, which is soothing for burns. Take milk and water at a 1:4 ratio, add some ice cubes, and apply compresses for 15 minutes. Repeat this procedure every 2-4 hours.
Oatmeal water relieves sunburned skin and helps in speedy recovery. Take dry oatmeal in muslin cloth and place this cloth in chilled water for some time and then remove the oatmeal. This water can be applied on the sunburn every 2-4 hours.
Lemon Juice and Rosewater
Sandalwood and turmeric have both been recommended by the Ayurvedic system of medicine. A paste of these two can be made and applied to the affected areas. Sandalwood has cooling effects and turmeric has healing properties; both can act quickly in relieving the pain.
Almond Milk Paste
A handful of almonds can be soaked overnight in water. After grinding them the next day, mix the paste with milk and apply this to the sunburned area. The process can be repeated 2 times a day for best results.
Lettuce leaves are also good for sunburn. The leaves must be boiled in water and made into a paste. This paste can be applied directly on the affected areas when it is still warm. They can quickly ease the pain and also help the area to heal faster.
The use of vinegar is also a remedy for sunburn. Add cider or lavender vinegar to your bath. Vinegar helps ease sunburn pain, itching, redness, and inflammation.
Slices of potatoes can be put on the skin to heal the burn.
Before going out, sunscreen must be applied to the skin to avoid damage due to UV rays. Use sunscreen with SPF 15 (Sun Protection Factor) 15 or more. The sunscreen you buy must be effective against UVA and UVB rays.
The possibility of a secondary infection can be averted with the use of an anti-bacterial soap that kills the bacteria that prey on dead tissues.
Exposure to Air
Direct exposure to air helps heal burnt cells. Application of creams, butter, petroleum jelly, or any other greasy substance should be avoided.
Moisturizers are used to compensate the moisture loss caused by sunburn. Chilling of the cream before the use makes its use more effective.
A good sleep is mandatory for effective recovery. Also, sprinkle corn-starch on your bed before sleeping to prevent chafing.
Contact a doctor if:
Pain doesn’t cease after a few days.
Purple patches, discolored blotches appear on the skin.
Rashes appear on the skin.
You’re constantly nauseated, feverish, and in excess pain.
Your eyelids are burnt, you have sore eyes, or if there are large amount of blisters on your skin.